Drake speaks out on Toronto violence after shooting
Hip-hop star Drake on Friday condemned rising violence in Toronto after two people died in a shooting linked to his festival, breaking more than a week of silence, AFP reports.
"I am plagued and pained by the violence that continues to escalate in our city," the Toronto-born rapper said in a statement.
"I stare into the eyes of so many young people and I wish to see them all shine as bright as they possibly can in this lifetime," the 28-year-old said.
"I pray for better times and better understanding," he added.
Drake offered condolences to the families of the two people who were shot dead August 4 at the Muzik nightclub at an after-party for his OVO Fest.
Toronto has seen 15 shootings lead to deaths in 2015, more than in all last year, according to police statistics, although the rate remains lower than in similar-sized US cities.
Drake, who has been frequently in the public eye in recent months, was unusually quiet after the killings, the motive of which was murky.
In his statement, Drake said he had been advised that "anything I might say could be misinterpreted" but decided to "follow my heart" and speak out.
Drake this year headlined major festivals including Coachella in California.
His latest mixtape, "If You're Reading This It's Too Late," is the only album released in 2015 to sell more than one million copies in the United States.